Is Google Fair?

May 01, 2007 2 min read

Let’s start with the facts.

A few days ago I was working at the data feed for a Google service called Google Base, previously known as Froogle. It’s an online service that allows sellers to upload a list of products with price and description and lets users search online for products to compare prices, shipping fees, and seller ratings.

for Google Base, PayPal is not a syntactically valid option

The new Google Base accepts a feed in a few different formats. One of the most flexible formats available is RSS 2.0, a popular XML format. The accepted payment type is among the optional information sellers can provide for each product. The following is a snippet of the XML code I submitted to Google. I’m confident that you don’t need to be an XML guru to understand this code:

<g:payment_accepted>
    MasterCard
</g:payment_accepted>

<g:payment_accepted>
    Visa
</g:payment_accepted>

<g:payment_accepted>
    PayPal
</g:payment_accepted>

A few hours after the upload I received a notification that the syntax of my XML feed was not valid. Here is the error message I got:

cvc-enumeration-valid: 
Value 'PayPal' is not facet-valid
with respect to enumeration
'[Cash, Check, Cheque, Visa, MasterCard,
Discover, AmericanExpress,
WireTransfer, GoogleCheckout]'.
It must be a value from the enumeration.

Translation in plain English: You specify that your online store accepts payment by Visa, MasterCard, and PayPal. For Google Base, PayPal is not a syntactically valid option, while GoogleCheckout is.

Is this just an oversight? Should we blame the omittance of PayPal on a Google programmer who perhaps forgot to include PayPal (Google Checkout's competition) in the list of payment options?

Or is this a poor implementation of the Google motto “Don’t be evil”?

Franco Folini

P.S.: According to this online Google Base Schema (line 419) PayPal is a syntactically valid option for payment, while Google Checkout is not even listed.  I guess this is not the Schema used to validate my feed. I would not recommend to check the XML schema if you are not familiar with XML.

Franco Folini
Franco Folini


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